Chapter 22: Bike Capital of the World

Golf at St. Andrews, passport misshap, and the coolest Christmas city ever

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Monday, November 8th

Devin and I booked a Wednesday afternoon flight to Copenhagen, but we had two days to kill first. Back to London? Nah. Stay in Edinburgh? Maybe, but we had already seen everything that we wanted.

Then we had a novel idea: St. Andrews. Home of the British Open, and some of the nicest golf courses in the world. I’m terrible at golf. Devin loves golf. St. Andrews it is.

We booked a hostel in Dundee, a town 20 minutes from St. Andrews. Devin took a bus while I traveled by train. We met at the hostel around lunchtime. No roommates was fantastic: we basically had a $20 hotel room. After checking in the hostel, we grabbed some Tex-Mex down the street.

Demetri and Alek asked Devin to grab them some soccer (read: football) jerseys from the UK, so we hit an athletic goods store in the mall across the street. Then we explored the town for a while. Dundee kind of sucks, especially in the fall. It’s too cold to do anything in the water (Dundee is on a river), but not cold enough for snow. The city just felt dull. They should call it “Dull”dee.


We stopped for donuts and coffee near a museum on the water, and we asked the girl working the shop if there was anything to do on Mondays in Dundee. Not much, apparently. Dundee is  a college town, but that’s about the only thing there. And no one does anything on Mondays.

We went back to the hostel for a bit, then set out on a mission to find haggis. Haggis is a Scottish delicacy: cooked sheep or cow stomach. Haggis is fantastic, and Devin wanted to try some. A couple of older guys smoking outside a bar pointed us to a local pub.

When we got there, Devin ordered two meals. Neither included haggis lol.

I did let him try some of the haggis on my burger.

We went back to the hostel at 9 and called it a night pretty early.

Tuesday, November 9th

Our alarms went off at 8:30, and we walked to the bus station to catch a ride to St. Andrews. The golf town was only 25 minutes away by bus, and we arrived at 10. The town of St. Andrews is beautiful and bustling. While Dundee was dull, St. Andrews was colorful and bustling.

After ten minutes of walking, we approached the Old Course. I had never seen anything like it. Situated on the coast of Scotland, the oldest golf course in the world was magnificent. The Old Course Hotel, a sprawling resort, overlooked it.

We had no business being anywhere near the Old Course (I had no business being near any of the courses here. Or any courses anywhere, for that matter), so we walked to some of St. Andrews’ cheaper courses further away.

We ended up playing two rounds of the nine hole course. Devin and I split some right-handed clubs to save money. I’m lefty, but I’m also so bad that the clubs wouldn’t have made a difference. I’m happy to say I was able to somewhat move the ball down the the course right-handed.

At 12:30, Devin left to play a full round of 18 on one of the other courses, and I headed to town to grab some food. I had a busy afternoon ahead of me:

An editor from Marketwatch was calling at 2:00 to follow up after highlighting one of my articles last week. I had a conference call with my anon-meme account boss and the CEO of a newsletter company at 5:30 (yes I’m aware of how ridiculous that sentence sounds), and a Zoom call with Dr. Digh’s INT 101 class from Mercer at 7:00.

I posted up at a local cafe for the 2:00 call. Barbara, the editor from Marketwatch, asked me all about my investing background, decision to travel and write, and thoughts on the current generation of new investors.

Pretty interesting conversation covering everything from SPACs to crypto to COVID.

For the 5:30 call, I needed somewhere quiet. I headed to the Old Course Hotel, because I figured the world’s grandest boomer resort would have solid wifi. I walked in looking busy, saying I needed to meet someone at the hotel bar. Then after 20 minutes, I walked up to the front desk and said, “I got hit with a last minute work call. Is there anywhere I can set up my laptop for some Zoom meetings?”

Office secured. I held my 5:30 meeting there, grabbed a beer upstairs with Devin (who was perplexed that I had just waltzed right in this place and set up my computer lol), and then came back for Dr. Digh’s class. It was pretty cool sharing the stuff I’ve been doing with some students.

Devin and I grabbed dinner and headed back around 9. Early morning tomorrow with a train to Edinburgh and flight to Copenhagen.

Wednesday, November 10th.

Devin took a shuttle directly from Dundee to the Edinburgh airport for $18. I had a free train to Edinburgh, and I figured I could get a cheaper shuttle from the Edinburgh train station. This was a stupid decision.

We had a 12:40 flight. Devin’s bus left at 8:50, and he was at the airport at 10:20.

I had a train at 9:00. It got cancelled. I took another train at 9:30, and I made in to Edinburgh at 10:50. Then I had to get a bus from there to the airport. The bus didn’t leave til 11:20.

Now it’s 11:50 when I arrive at the airport. The door to my plane closes in 30 minutes. I sprint to the Ryanair desk to get my boarding pass, but my passport won’t scan.

“I don’t see a John Raines. Who is the Jack Raines that checked in?”


“Well I’m Jack Raines… and also John Raines.”

“Your passport says John Raines, but you’re checked in under Jack. The system won’t let me print a boarding pass with different names.”

“Is there anything I can do?”

“You only have 15 minutes to make it to the gate before the plane door closes. I’m sorry, but you’re not making this flight.”

So how did this happen? Ryanair offers online check in, but my laptop autofilled “Jack” instead of “John”, and I didn’t catch it. So I hopped my happy ass on a train to London to catch tomorrow’s 6 AM flight over.

Devin is bicycling around Denmark, while I’m putting the “Cope” in Copenhagen.

I was going to stay in a hostel in downtown London, but the airport was 25 miles south of town, and I needed to be there at 5 AM. I caught another train from London to the ‘burbs and spent the night at an airport hotel.

Thursday, November 11th

At 4 AM, I woke up to a Facetime from Cam, one of my friends in Atlanta:

Yo what is the door code to your place again?

My room has become a psuedo-Airbnb for the Atlanta crowd, apparently. I showered and grabbed breakfast, then walked to the airport around 5. On my flight to Copenhagen, I sat next to a half-Dutch, half-Danish girl named Signe (pronounced See-nah). She filled me in on all of the cool spots around town.

I got to the hostel around 10:30 and just about freaked out at the girl working the front desk. She told me since I hadn’t made it in town yesterday and didn’t communicate that I would be a day late, my reservation had been cancelled.

Luckily I remembered that I had actually booked two different reservations, one for Thursday to Monday and a different one for that Wednesday night. Even though the Wednesday one got “cancelled”, I was able to check in under the second one.

While I was waiting on Devin, I met this dog named Steve. Steve curled up next to my backpack and fell asleep. I think Steve wants to keep traveling with me.

Devin showed up 30 minutes later with Jacob, a guy who plays professional basketball in Copenhagen. Jacob went to high school with Devin’s roommate, Davis.

We rented some bikes, and Jacob took us all over town.

Biking culture is BIG in Copenhagen. They have roads and “highways” built just for bikes. Parking garages for bikes. The whole city bikes, and it is freaking awesome.

We ended up in this area called Freetown Christiania, the weirdest place in the world.

In the 1970s, some hippies in Copenhagen moved into some old military barracks in the middle of the city, and they never left. The government let them have it, and Christiana is now a self-governed village of sorts in the middle of the city.

Fun fact: Lukas Graham is actually from there.

They build their own homes and structures, the entire city is covered with graffiti, and everything is legal. You walk down Main Street Christiania and guys are selling weed from little shops set up all over the place. Just a wild, weird, unique spot.

Tyler landed around this time, and we all met up at a local pizza place.

Jacob left, and Tyler, Devin, and I biked to an old fortress on the north side of the city. The fort was built on a star-shaped piece of land surrounded by a moat. Cool stuff. We headed to the Copenhagen palace after that, and we came across a bunch of locals playing some weird-ass freeze tag (?) game in the park.


I headed back to the hostel to write for a bit, while Devin and Tyler went to Tyler’s hotel. Tyler got a room at the Marriott. Honestly nice to have somewhere non-hostel to chill.

Around 5:00, Austin Cain texted us saying that he wanted to buy the Constitution.

I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t. The actual Constitution is being sold at an auction in New York in a few days.

Next thing I know, he has set up a Twitter account to raise awareness, and he scheduled a Zoom call with people from all over the world to solidify this plan.

tl;dr: he created a DAO (basically massive online organization) to crowdfund a purchase of the Constitution. He has since been interviewed by Vice, we have 5,000 people interested in joining the movement, and ConstitutionDAO is trending on Twitter. So yeah, we’re going to buy the Constitution. Power to the people.

We regrouped and grabbed dinner with another homie: Jason Chan. Jason was in Copenhagen for a day before flying to Prague.

After dinner, Tyler, Devin, and I headed to a place called Proud Mary Pub. Massive place with a dance floor, multiple floors, etc.

The upstairs bar had a wheel that you could pay 50 Kr ($8?) to spin, and you would drink whatever it landed on. There was one panel called “Bloody Wanker”, where you wouldn’t get anything. Because you’re a bloody wanker.

I was a Bloody Wanker 2x. What a waste.

Tyler headed back to his hotel at like 1, dude hadn’t slept in 36 hours. Devin and I bounced around town for a bit, and we met some Danish girls who told us that the Danish word for platypus is “næbdyr” lol.

Friday, November 12th

Devin headed to Tyler’s hotel to drop his bags off there (he is flying out at 6 AM tomorrow, so he didn’t want to book another night at our hostel).

I grabbed breakfast at the hostel with Jason. Last time seeing my favorite Hong Kong compadre in Europe, sad day.

I met up with Tyler and Devin before lunch, and we headed back to Freetown Christiania.

We spent the rest of the day exploring this cool town. There were Christmas markets every few blocks selling hot chocolate, street food, sweaters, scarves, and everything else you would buy during jolly szn.

We also found some trampolines built into the sidewalk by the river. We spent way too long jumping around on them like little kids.

We grabbed a bite to eat by an ice skating rink before strolling through the Copenhagen library, which was an awesome building. Two massive black-glass towers half-filled with old manuscripts in wooden shelves, and half-filled with computer screens and study rooms.

Copenhagen has converted an old meat packing district into a really cool restaurant/bar/market area, and we found a 10/10 barbecue place there. Brisket, ribs, mac and cheese, and Kenny Chesney on the radio. This place was like a piece of America in Scandinavia.

We went to some outdoor bar and posted up by some heaters for a while (it’s chillyyyy in Denmark rn) before heading to a karaoke bar.

I cannot stress to you how bad Europeans are at American karaoke. It’s one of the best parts about traveling. The off-tune, strong accent renditions of Taylor Swift never get old. Later at some packed-out dive bar, we found a reindeer antler headband on the ground. Tyler tried them on, and a Danish girl walked up and said it was hers. She gave Tyler a big kiss on the cheek for returning her piece. What a sweetheart.

Devin and Tyler headed back to the hotel and hung out til Devin left for his flight, while I went back to the hostel.

Saturday, November 13th

Devin stayed up til like 4 AM and then headed to the airport lol. He is now safe and sound back in Atlanta ❤️

I went back to the Copenhagen library to write. I drafted a ridiculous article about the attempt to crowdfund a purchase of the Constitution, while Tyler slept in.

Tyler came to meet up with me at the library, and he saw a ton of people jumping in the river on the way over. Apparently it’s a tradition in Scandinavia for people to hop in the water when it’s cold out. Once the water freezes over in December, they cut holes in the ice and briefly jump in and out.

Vikings are nuts.

We grabbed dinner and went back to the outdoor bar from the night before, where the bartender hooked us up with free drinks for some reason.

Some people we met the night before had recommended Arch Night Club on Saturdays, so we made our way over there. The bouncer initially said we were underdressed (button downs and slacks? Come on man) but his manager, a dude from San Francisco, was chill and let us in. This place was boujee af.

After spending a questionable amount of money, we called it a night and headed back to our respective cribs.

One more day in Copenhagen, then I’m off to Sweden and Tyler is headed home.

What’s next? Sweden, Norway, then Germany. I was going to the Netherlands with Hudson Brett in two weeks, but the Dutch government is reimplementing a three week lockdown. Germany is a solid back up plan.

Do three week lockdowns actually work? Probably not. But the easiest thing for governments to do during COVID flair ups is close everything for an arbitrary amount of time. Pretty stupid, imo.

Adios amigos.

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